Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz tried and failed to give his daughter a hug in an excruciating encounter caught on camera.

The Texas senator suffered the embarrassing moment during last-minute campaigning in Iowa ahead of the state's crucial caucus.

A clip uploaded to YouTube has shown Republican presidential candidate and Texas senator Ted Cruz trying and failing to get a hug from his daughter while on a campaign trail in Iowa, the day before the Republican Iowa caucus.

The video uploaded online shows Mr Cruz attempting to embrace his daughter, Caroline, as she tries to squirm away and flick him in the face to keep him at bay - while shouting “ow, ow, ow”.

As she shuffles away, he looks up into the camera.

Despite this perhaps not being an abnormal reaction from a young daughter receiving public affection from her father, the clip has prompted comments about Mr Cruz’s tactic of using his family in carefully scripted campaign videos.

Mr Cruz previously attempted to shoot a heartfelt advert showing him in a family environment, with various members of his immediate and extended family singing his praises. 

Unfortunately for the candidate, the unedited footage was posted online and revealed much of the praise from his family appeared to be scripted. 

At one point in the footage, someone off-camera is heard saying “one more hug and we’re out”.

It is not the first time Mr Cruz’s daughters have been central to a debate.

The Washington Post published a cartoon by Ann Talnaes depicting him with his daughters as monkeys on leashes under the caption ‘Ted Cruz uses his kids as political props’  - a response to a parody Christmas advert that Mr Cruz and his family had appeared in for Saturday Night Live. 

Mr Cruz responded in a tweet, saying: “Classy. @WashingtonPost makes fun of my girls. Stick with attacking me – Caroline and Catherine are out of your league.” The cartoon was removed from the Post, and replaced with an editor's note.

The Iowa caucus, which kicks off the Republican presidential primaries, was due to begin on Monday night as the parties begin voting for their representative presidential candidate. 

A survey from Des Moines Register on Friday showed support for Mr Cruz at 23 per cent, compared to 28 per cent support for rival Donald Trump.

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